Summering on Government Land, 1917

Glacier National Park, Montana. Cook cabin at Two Medicine Camp. 1913.

In 1917, the Union Pacific Railroad produced a summer tourist brochure which noted: “The National Forests of Colorado offer an attractive variety of locations for permanent summer homes. Lots of ample size may be leased for a term of years, and the tourist who is tired of continuous travel may build for himself a cozy lodge on government land in the vastness of the Rockies where he may devote himself to the study of nature.”

Glacier National Park, Montana. Bowman Lake ranger cabin. July 29, 1982

          That same year, the Forest Service “hired Frank A. Waugh, professor of Landscape Architecture at Massachusetts Agricultural College, Amherst (now University of Massachusetts) to prepare the first national study of recreation uses on the national forests.”
          Recreation Uses in the National Forests, Waugh’s 1918 report, estimated that “some 3 million recreation visitors used the national forests each year.” He reported publicly funded “automobile camps” and picnic grounds in the national forests along with “fraternal camps, sanatoria, and commercial summer resorts” built and operated by the private sector. Waugh also noted “several hundred small colonies of individually owned summer cabins” on national forest land.
          Information on the number of people actually using national forest land was not regularly collected. However, based on information available  for the summer of 1916, Waugh estimated “a recreation return of $7,500,000 annually on national forest lands.”

First paragraph quotation from “Colorado for the Tourist,” produced by the Union Pacific Railroad for the summer tourist season of 1917.

Additional information and quotations from The USDA Forest Service – The First Century, FOREST PROTECTION OR CUSTODIAL MANAGEMENT 1910-1933

Photos courtesy U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library

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Summer Attractions Colorado 1917, South

The new Broadmoor Hotel built 1918

          “…Colorado Springs is 75 miles from Denver, reached by rail or auto in two and one-half hours. …regular fare one way from Denver to Colorado Springs is $2.25 the year around…      
          “Once the tourist has arrived at Colorado Springs he is surprised at the variety and excellence of hotel and boarding house accommodations…[T]he visitor to Colorado Springs can have from five days to one week’s board and room obtainable for from $10.00 to $12.00…”
          “Manitou, at the foot of Pike’s Peak, is six miles from Colorado Springs and is reached in 20 minutes by electric car or automobile. There are several ways of reaching the summit of Pike’s Peak. Many prefer to climb and a guide is not required.”
          “There are forenoon, afternoon, and sunrise trains on the cog road (The Manitou & Pike’s Peak Railroad). The regular fare is $5.00, round trip, and summer excursions are made for $3.00. The round trip is made in four hours…”
          “[Another] route to Pike’s Peak is by the Pike’s Peak Auto Highway which was completed in 1916. The price for this trip, in one of the Highway company’s automobiles, is $6.50….Any automobile may be driven to the top by its owner for a toll charge of $2.00 a person, minimum $4.00 a car. The distance is 30 miles each way.”
          “An attractive trip from Colorado Springs is the Wildflower excursion conducted by the Colorado Midland railroad every Thursday during the summer. The route is over Ute Pass. The trip requires one day. The round trip fare is $1.00.”
          “Pueblo, ‘The Pittsburg of the West,’ is 44 miles south of Colorado Springs and 119 miles from Denver by train or automobile…Pueblo is a thriving city of 60,000 people, the second in size in Colorado.”

Photo courtesy the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection.

Quoted text from a free promotional booklet “Colorado for the Tourist,” produced by the Union Pacific Railroad for the summer tourist season of 1917.

Colorado Summer Attractions 1917, Part 2

Land of Unrivaled Scenery


The Union Pacific’s 1917 promotional booklet Colorado for the Tourist described the state in elegant and compelling language designed to lure travelers—for the benefit of both the railroad and the state.

“Of all the superb playgrounds of the peerless West none posses more charm or greater variety than those of Colorado. The vigor-restoring climate is a factor when those on vacation bent are considering where to go. No corner of the globe offers more attractions than this domain of the Rocky Mountains, where the Crest of the Continents attains its highest and most rugged altitudes, and the resort places and camping grounds accommodate every purse, whim or desire. Fishing and hunting in season are beyond compare. This book is a picture story of these exceptional summering places and of the most accessible of all out National Parks – Rocky Mountain National Park. Denver, the gateway to this wonderland, is less than thirty hours from Chicago via Union Pacific.”
          “Whatever else Colorado may be—whether leader among precious metal producing states or producer of richest crops of fruit and grain—it will also always be the mecca of the heat-oppressed and scenery-loving American tourist.”
          “Colorado is learning, like Switzerland, to capitalize its marvelous scenery. Its citizens realize that with all its native gold, the Centennial State, with its wealth of climate, health and picturesque settings, is, after all, first and foremost, the logical playground of the Continent.”
           “Colorado has many advantages over Switzerland. Altitudes that are barely accessible in the European republic are reached with greatest ease in Colorado. Whereas, in the Alps it is almost as much as one’s life is worth to ascend to 10,000 feet, in Colorado the traveler finds two of the greatest mining camps in the world at that approximate height—Leadville being slightly higher and Cripple Creek a trifle lower. Each is a modern city and their combined production of metals has added more than $700,000,000 to the wealth of the world.”
         “The snowy peaks, silvery mountain streams and shimmering lakes, set like jewels in the mountain sides, together with other attendant charms of Colorado, rank with those of any high altitude territory in the world. Added to these is an advanced degree of civilization, with comforts and conveniences of living and travel that are unexcelled.”

Illustrations and quoted text from a free promotional booklet “Colorado for the Tourist,” produced by the Union Pacific Railroad for the summer tourist season of 1917.

Colorado Summer Attractions 1917, Part 1

Colorado For The Tourist was a 48 page publication designed to entice vacation travel on the Union Pacific Railroad. Produced for the 1917 summer tourist season, the front and back covers are illustrated in color. The booklet includes 37 pages of black and white photographs of Colorado’s scenic wonders and eight pages describing places to visit within the state. And, of course, the benefits of travelling on the Union Pacific line were emphasized.

“The Union Pacific is the only line that is double-tracked all the way from Chicago to Colorado. It is the only line that is protected all the way by Automatic Electric Block Safety Signals. It has the only roadbed that is ballasted with Sherman gravel, a superior ballast [layer of crushed rock on which railroad track is laid] which insures freedom from dust and dirt…These important, exclusive features, added to the expense of eliminating grades and curves, cost the Union Pacific $269,700,000 and it has won for the line the name to which it is justly entitled, “The Standard Road of the West.”
          “Three daily trains are operated Chicago to Denver, via Omaha, and two daily trains from St. Louis to Denver, via Kansas City. The dining car service on all trains is maintained at the highest standard.”
          “…tourists destined to Yellowstone National Park, to California, the Pacific Northwest or Alaska, may visit Colorado, also Salt Lake City, on the way, without extra fare.”

Illustrations and quoted text from a free promotional booklet “Colorado for the Tourist,” produced by the Union Pacific Railroad for the summer tourist season of 1917.